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Home Housing & Finance Tips on Changing Money
Tips on Changing Money
Housing & Finance
It's generally less problematic to wait until arrival and using your debit or credit card in a local cash machine, which can be found everywhere in most towns. In recent years the official exchange rates have been close to market value, so official exchange rates can provide amounts similar to, or better than, unofficial ones. The airports in Beijing and Shanghai have cash machines which accept most international debit/credit cards.

Be sure to check for the Plus or Cirrus
symbols (whichever your bank supports), as there are many ATMs which are not linked to international networks and may retain your card, a very unpleasant prospect.

If you have trouble because the ATM requires a 6 digit PIN and you only have 4 digits, try 2 leading zeroes (although this may not be necessary - try your actual PIN first)! Also, when venturing into more remote regions it is advisable to carry sufficient cash, as ATMs with international network access may not be available. If you find yourself in a town with a
Bank of China branch but no international network-capable ATM it may be possible to get a cash advance on a credit card inside the bank.

Just ask.Foreign currency and/or traveller's cheques
can be exchanged into RMB in most hotels and
banks with varying levels of difficulty, and you will be required to show a passport or identification. Your signature on your passport will be compared with the signature on the traveller's cheques, and your
cheques and passport itself may be scrutinized to be sure of authenticity. If the signatures aren't an exact match you may be denied. Providing a receipt with a matching signature may help.

Exchanging US currency for RMB can be much
simpler, but expect the bills to be heavily scrutinized before the exchange is processed. Opportunities to
buy RMB before entering China, for example when coming overland from Hong Kong or Vietnam, should
be taken, as the rates are better. The same is true going the other way - selling just across the border will often net a more favourable rate. Also, most banks will allow you to get a
cash advance via a debit or credit card. It's useful to carry an international currency such
as British Pounds, US Dollars, or Japanese Yen to fall back on should you not have
access to a cash machine.

Keep all your exchange receipts
as you will need them to exchange RMB back into your original currency. This includes cash withdrawals from ATMs, and any other exchange medium. Exchanging currency outside of official channels (i.e. if you lose your receipts) is technically illegal。

It will be much easier if you have an dual-currency account with the Bank of China - opened at the branch from which you plan to get your money. Electronic transfers to dual currency accounts incur no or very low fees although it still will take about one week. All you need to start is your passport and visa and a small initial deposit (can be RMB) plus the new-account fee (¥10-20).

Western Union have deals with China
Agricultural Bank and with China Post so there are a lot of Western Union signs around.
This is what overseas Chinese sending money to relatives, or expats sending money out of China, generally use.

Banking
Opening a bank account in China - especially an RMB-only account - is a very
straightforward process. You only need your passport with a valid visa (tourist visas are acceptable). For long-term travel or residence, a Chinese bank account is a very good idea. Your ID and PIN are required for withdrawals at the counter although deposits can be made no questions asked if you have the bank book they issued with your account. Banks
usually charge a fee (around 1%) for depositing and withdrawing money in a different city than the one you opened your account in. Atms are now present in almost all towns and cities except in the most remote areas. Many ATMs accept Visa, Mastercard, AMEX,
Maestro, and Plus debit and credit cards although some only accept Union Pay cards
 

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